The FDA has updated its guidance regarding Creutzfeldt-Jakob (Mad Cow) disease

SAINT PAUL, Minn – Following updated guidance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Memorial Blood Centers (MBC) announces revised eligibility guidelines for prospective donors. In May of 2022, the FDA updated its guidance regarding Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (also known as Mad Cow disease, CJD or vCJD), allowing more people to become eligible to donate blood. 

Changes in vCJD criteria now allow the following groups to donate:

•    People who spent time in the United Kingdom from 1980-1996
•    People who spent time in France and Ireland from 1980-2001, and
•    People who received a blood transfusion in the United Kingdom, France, and Ireland from 1980-present

“We are pleased to welcome newly eligible donors in the fight to save lives,” said Kathy Geist, vice president of Memorial Blood Centers. “Blood centers across America have struggled to collect enough blood since the pandemic hit. These new guidelines will help ease the shortage by opening eligibility to many potential donors who have long wanted to help.” 

After updating computer systems and training protocols, MBC now welcomes donors who were previously deferred due to one of the above criteria. MBC is currently contacting donors with previous vCJD deferrals to inform them of their potential eligibility.

There is no substitute for blood—only eligible donors can help meet the needs of patients in our local hospitals. Giving blood takes less than one hour from start to finish, and a single donation could help up to three patients. Learn more or schedule an appointment to donate at or call 888.GIVE.BLD (888.448.3253)

Some eligibility deferrals related to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease remain. To determine eligibility, call 888.448.3253 or stop by a donor center or blood drive and speak with our staff.